Microsoft releases Dynamics CRM 2016 with technology from FieldOne, Parature acquisitions

A building on the Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced, July 17, that Microsoft will cut 18,000 jobs, the largest layoff in the company's history.


Microsoft today announced the release of Dynamics CRM 2016, the latest version of its customer relationship management software. Available both as a cloud service and on-premises software, Dynamics CRM 2016 comes with features Microsoft has picked up through its acquisition of two companies: FieldOne, a provider of software for managing the activity of service workers, and Parature, a cloud-based customer-service software vendor.

“CRM 2016 delivers a single, unified solution for Customer Service across self-service, agent assisted service and field service,” Microsoft Dynamics general manager Jujhar Singh wrote in a blog post on the news. “Building on the integration of Parature knowledge management in spring 2015, we now have a new role driven agent experience with the Interactive Service Hub, native Knowledge Management, surveys to capture voice of the customer and field service capabilities with our recent acquisition of FieldOne.”

But Microsoft isn’t only leaning on its
acquisitions to flesh out Dynamics and make it a more dominant force in the CRM market, where Salesforce plays a leading role with its cloud-only Sales Cloud.

Microsoft is also adding its Cortana personal digital assistant this time around. Cortana “surfaces CRM data for key sales activities, accounts and deals,” Singh wrote.

That’s something that Salesforce doesn’t have, at least for now.

Of course, Microsoft wants to do more with Dynamics. That will include drawing on data from Internet-connected devices, an area where Salesforce recently launched a cloud.

“As we look to the future, we will continue to combine the strength of the intelligent cloud platform to our business application
service where organizations will be empowered and proactive — saving costs, increasing customer loyalty and even saving patient lives,” Singh wrote. “For example, combining the field service capabilities from FieldOne with the power of the Azure IoT Suite will be able to deliver predictive maintenance right to the user, so companies can move away from a break-fix model to actually provide service before a breakdown. This will save time while creating efficiencies and predictability and increasing customer loyalty.”

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6 best practices for recruiting exceptional talent

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This sponsored post is produced by Stubhub.


Anyone who manages at a startup or tech company knows how difficult it is to hire the right talent. From Silicon Valley to Austin, Boston to New York, competition has made this task even more difficult. It takes longer to find great talent, and the need to fill jobs in the midst of shorter development cycles is even more urgent now that technologies and skills can be outdated overnight. Many leaders are spending more time hiring and interviewing instead of working to retain the great people they already have. Adding to this challenge is the fact that employees change their jobs more often than they did a
decade ago, resulting in a perfect storm for hiring managers.

However, even in this competitive market, there are successful tactics to help ensure you’re hiring the right types of people — and keeping them. At StubHub, we have adapted and evolved these best practices over the years to help us avoid pitfalls and hire skilled candidates with speed.

1. Put your best people on the job
Put your best people on recruiting duty. Employees who are the most passionate about your company — from its mission and vision to its people — will tell the best stories and be best equipped to assess what a star player looks like. “Like attracts like,” as the saying goes, and wooing new candidates is no exception. Your strongest team members will often be the ones who draw in talent who can become employees with the best potential. After meeting with them, candidates should feel positively challenged, excited, and energized.

2.
Prepare a recruiting panel

It’s important to put a pre-screening process in place, but once candidates have been vetted initially, a small panel with a few decision makers will often yield the quickest outcome. Carefully define the areas that need to be covered by each panel member, so that they can test all necessary skills and company fit. This will also help the panelist be efficient with their time, as interviewing Candidate Number 10 for the same job position can get tiresome. Notably, one of the most important parts of this process occurs after the candidate leaves the room, which is the best time to capture real-time feedback on the candidate.

3. Stay connected
Throughout the recruiting process, your hiring managers must be constantly engaging with candidates and offering a personal touch: meeting them in person, addressing any concerns they have along the way, and following up to ask them for feedback about the process. At
StubHub, we’ve found that one of our key differentiators is the amount of time and care that our recruiters put into each lead. We have heard from candidates that they appreciate the personal connection, and it is something we feel strongly about maintaining in every interaction, even up through the closing process.

4. Be authentic and honest
As with any sales process, it’s tempting to paint a brighter picture than reality provides. Yet the most important thing you can do, for both your internal team and future employees, is commit to being honest. Candidates should walk away from an interview not only with a clear understanding of the company’s mission, but also with the knowledge of how they would fit into the bigger picture when it comes to business goals and company priorities. Candidates will appreciate knowing all of the pros and cons before they commit, so that they can make the most informed decision possible and be satisfied with their
choice.

5. Tap into your network for reference checking
Most strong candidates vet their potential references to make sure they are likely to give positive feedback. To make sure you have the full picture, tap into your network to do some delicate back-door reference checking in addition to the references supplied. Reaching out to the candidate’s peers, direct reports, or bosses can give you a better understanding of their fit for the position. This is especially important when hiring for senior or management roles, as a wrong decision is more costly for the company and the employees than a delay in hiring.

6. Invest in a strong pipeline for the future
Your best source of referrals is through your current employees, as word-of-mouth or social feedback could attract their friends and former colleagues to your company. Internships and college programs can also serve as long-term sources of recruitment. Often, creating
impactful experiences for interns can fall by the wayside, but it’s important to remember that interns are often the best candidates when openings become available. At StubHub, we try to not only provide our interns with a great summer experience, but also allow them to work on real problems that StubHub is trying to solve in the next few months. Many of the projects and prototypes that our interns have built are innovations that are needed for our fans and our sellers.

With the need for technologically savvy employees growing at such a high rate, recruiters and hiring managers have their work cut out for them. While there will never be a magic bullet in hiring, these guidelines can help to make a big difference in building out your team to be the best it can be.

Raji Arasu is CTO at StubHub.


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Microsoft partners with Autodesk to bring 3D product design to HoloLens

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Microsoft has partnered with Autodesk to make its HoloLens device more useful in the way that we design products. The Redmond, Washington-based company has built support for Autodesk’s Fusion 360 into its augmented reality headset to provide designers an innovative way to build 2D and 3D objects.

“When we first saw HoloLens, we immediately sensed the possibilities for 3D engineering and industrial design,” wrote Garin Gardiner, an Autodesk Fusion 360 business developer manager. “And after spending a bit of time with HoloLens, I realized how limiting it is to view 3D objects on a relatively small, flat screen rather than being able to use my entire real-world workspace for 3D design projects.”

The added support for Fusion 360 comes as the two companies build on their existing partnership, which was formed in May 2015 during Microsoft’s Build conference. The first project they worked on together, called FreeForm, provided a way to examine what an engineer or a designer could do with 3D holographic technology. Now enough work has been done that Autodesk is bringing Fusion 360 directly to the HoloLens augmented reality device.


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By allowing designers and engineers to build a product in 3D and view it virtually, the expectation is, the system will reduce the time needed to build physical prototypes and may streamline the development process.

But while the possibilities of using the HoloLens to build out your next hardware device or product is certainly appealing, don’t get too excited. The HoloLens isn’t available for public use yet, and the integration with Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is still in development. But that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from showing off the potential of what this partnership can do:

Microsoft unveiled its HoloLens system in January as a way to show what 3D really should look like and to push forward the development of holographic technology. But the company isn’t focused on just product designers, engineers, and industrial designers — it’s also started working with folks at NASA, Case Western Reserve University, and others on education and business applications.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, some examples of the potential of the HoloLens were posted onto Facebook:

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External Link: Amazon Instant Video Coming to Apple TV

Engineer Dan Bostonweeks contacted Amazon to complain about the lack of an Amazon Instant Video app for the fourth-generation Apple TV, and was surprised to receive a response saying that Amazon’s working on it. Amazon added that it should hopefully be available in a few weeks.

 

Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site, email delivery of individual articles, the ability to make long comments with live links, and discounts on Take Control orders and other Apple-related products.

Listen Up: iPhone Hack Diagnoses HVAC

We all know that guy (or, in some cases, we are that guy) that can listen to a car running and say something like, “Yep. Needs a lifter adjustment.” A startup company named Augury aims to replace that skill with an iPhone app.

Aimed at commercial installations, a technician places a magnetic sensor to the body of the machine in question. The sensor connects to a custom box called an Auguscope that collects vibration and ultrasonic data and forwards it via the iPhone to a back end server for analysis. Moving the sensor can even allow the back end to determine the location of the fault in some cases. The comparison data the back end uses includes reference data on similar machines as well as historical data about the machine in question.

We couldn’t help but wonder why the hacker community hasn’t been building things like this for a long time. We have plenty of CPUs with enough horsepower to collect audio (or other sensor data) and process it. If you wanted to diagnose cars, for example, you can find sounds readily enough for training.

There are a few academic papers on the subject, but nothing we could find in the way of hacker-style projects. Maybe the comments will flesh out some. If not, this seems like a ripe area for experimentation. Acoustic analysis of a PC could identify fan, power supply, and hard drive problems (as long as you aren’t using a solid state drive). Anything with moving parts could be a candidate.

About the closest thing we found in the archives was a hybrid magnetic/audio system to plot motor balance. We’d love to see some more work in this area over on Hackaday.io.

Images courtesy of Augury.

Filed under: news, repair hacks

Listen Up: iPhone Hack Diagnoses HVAC

We all know that guy (or, in some cases, we are that guy) that can listen to a car running and say something like, “Yep. Needs a lifter adjustment.” A startup company named Augury aims to replace that skill with an iPhone app.

Aimed at commercial installations, a technician places a magnetic sensor to the body of the machine in question. The sensor connects to a custom box called an Auguscope that collects vibration and ultrasonic data and forwards it via the iPhone to a back end server for analysis. Moving the sensor can even allow the back end to determine the location of the fault in some cases. The comparison data the back end uses includes reference data on similar machines as well as historical data about the machine in question.

We couldn’t help but wonder why the hacker community hasn’t been building things like this for a long time. We have plenty of CPUs with enough horsepower to collect audio (or other sensor data) and process it. If you wanted to diagnose cars, for example, you can find sounds readily enough for training.

There are a few academic papers on the subject, but nothing we could find in the way of hacker-style projects. Maybe the comments will flesh out some. If not, this seems like a ripe area for experimentation. Acoustic analysis of a PC could identify fan, power supply, and hard drive problems (as long as you aren’t using a solid state drive). Anything with moving parts could be a candidate.

About the closest thing we found in the archives was a hybrid magnetic/audio system to plot motor balance. We’d love to see some more work in this area over on Hackaday.io.

Images courtesy of Augury.

Filed under: news, repair hacks

RasPi LED Panel Library is Nyan-tastic

Quick–in a pinch, let’s have ourselves a giant RGB LED Matrix! As marvelous as it sounds, it’s pretty easy to forget that there’s a battle to be won against picking the right parts, debugging drivers, and sorting out our spaghetti wiring. Rest assured, [Hzeller] has done all of the heavy-lifting for us with a Raspberry Pi RGB LED Matrix Implementation that scales to multiple panels and runs on any Pi model to date!

Offering 24-bit color at about 100 Hz for up to a grand total of 36 panels, [Hzeller’s] library is no slouch. The library enables customization of your panel arrangements, and a separate project (also [Hzeller’s] handiwork) makes this setup compatible with the pixel-pusher protocol as a network device.

It’s certainly true that many of us have a thing for these displays, so you might ask: “have we seen this before? What’s all the fuss?” Like the others, the final product is a sight to behold, but [hzeller] and his implementation stands strong because of his phenomenal response to answering the question: how? In fact, almost more impressive is his comprehensive online documentation. Inside, [hzeller] details various hardware configurations for a custom number of panels
or a particular flavor of Pi that drives them. He also provides references for pinout quirks and provides out-of-the-box software demos to ensure that anyone can bring this project to life. If a poorly-written or non-existent READMEs have made you shy away from building on an open-source project, fear not. From pinout quirks and out-of-the-box software demos, [hzeller] has covered all the bases and given us a project that folks of all levels of hacking.

Perhaps the best part of this project is the span of the audience that can take something away from it. If you’re a seasoned Linux junkie, dive into the source code to get a good feel of mechanics of how [hzeller] pushes this project onto a single core in a Raspi-2 configuration. If you’re new to digital electronics, let this project be your moment to pick up a Pi, a panel (or four), and run, knowing that [hzeller’s] README is the only tome you’ll need to light up the night.

We had the honor of soaking up some Nyan-Cat rainbows with a live demo at this year’s SuperCon.

Filed under: led hacks, Raspberry Pi

RasPi LED Panel Library is Nyan-tastic

Quick–in a pinch, let’s have ourselves a giant RGB LED Matrix! As marvelous as it sounds, it’s pretty easy to forget that there’s a battle to be won against picking the right parts, debugging drivers, and sorting out our spaghetti wiring. Rest assured, [Hzeller] has done all of the heavy-lifting for us with a Raspberry Pi RGB LED Matrix Implementation that scales to multiple panels and runs on any Pi model to date!

Offering 24-bit color at about 100 Hz for up to a grand total of 36 panels, [Hzeller’s] library is no slouch. The library enables customization of your panel arrangements, and a separate project (also [Hzeller’s] handiwork) makes this setup compatible with the pixel-pusher protocol as a network device.

It’s certainly true that many of us have a thing for these displays, so you might ask: “have we seen this before? What’s all the fuss?” Like the others, the final product is a sight to behold, but [hzeller] and his implementation stands strong because of his phenomenal response to answering the question: how? In fact, almost more impressive is his comprehensive online documentation. Inside, [hzeller] details various hardware configurations for a custom number of panels
or a particular flavor of Pi that drives them. He also provides references for pinout quirks and provides out-of-the-box software demos to ensure that anyone can bring this project to life. If a poorly-written or non-existent READMEs have made you shy away from building on an open-source project, fear not. From pinout quirks and out-of-the-box software demos, [hzeller] has covered all the bases and given us a project that folks of all levels of hacking.

Perhaps the best part of this project is the span of the audience that can take something away from it. If you’re a seasoned Linux junkie, dive into the source code to get a good feel of mechanics of how [hzeller] pushes this project onto a single core in a Raspi-2 configuration. If you’re new to digital electronics, let this project be your moment to pick up a Pi, a panel (or four), and run, knowing that [hzeller’s] README is the only tome you’ll need to light up the night.

We had the honor of soaking up some Nyan-Cat rainbows with a live demo at this year’s SuperCon.

Filed under: led hacks, Raspberry Pi

Meet ‘One Love Machine,’ the robot band built b

The One Love Machine Band by Berlin artist Kolja Kugler.


TOULOUSE, France — Kolja Kugler of Berlin wants you to know that he’s not an engineer. Or developer. Or very tech savvy.

No, he’s an artist, a sculptor. And he said it was his interest in finding ways to make his objects more expressive that led him to start building robots. The result of this journey is his One Love Band, a collection of three large metal robots accompanied by several smaller whistling bird robots.

Kugler brought his heavy metal sculpture to the Futurapolis conference that was held last weekend in Toulouse. The band gave several performances over the two-day event.


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He got his start as an artist working with a group that was transforming abandoned Cold War war gear into large art installations. As he developed sculptures from scrap metal, he also began playing with ways to use air-pressure systems to power and control the movements of the sculptures.

His first robot, Sir Elton Junk, is the one in the picture sitting in the middle above the sign with times on it. Eventually, he began taking more scrap metal and building the other two robots: a bass player and drum player. While he’s working on
making the sounds more musical, his real interest is expanding the range of head and body expressions the robots can make while playing.

The “One Love” name is a reference to the Bob Marley sign. Kugler plans to keep building more band members using money he earns from tours and paid performances. He noted that the band disassembles quite easily and fits in a van.

Here’s a glimpse of one of their performances this weekend:

Meet ‘One Love Machine,’ the robot band built b

The One Love Machine Band by Berlin artist Kolja Kugler.


TOULOUSE, France — Kolja Kugler of Berlin wants you to know that he’s not an engineer. Or developer. Or very tech savvy.

No, he’s an artist, a sculptor. And he said it was his interest in finding ways to make his objects more expressive that led him to start building robots. The result of this journey is his One Love Band, a collection of three large metal robots accompanied by several smaller whistling bird robots.

Kugler brought his heavy metal sculpture to the Futurapolis conference that was held last weekend in Toulouse. The band gave several performances over the two-day event.


From VentureBeat

Customers don’t just get irritated when you screw up cross-channel personalization. They jump ship. Find out how to save your bacon on this free research-based webinar with Insight’s Andrew Jones.

He got his start as an artist working with a group that was transforming abandoned Cold War war gear into large art installations. As he developed sculptures from scrap metal, he also began playing with ways to use air-pressure systems to power and control the movements of the sculptures.

His first robot, Sir Elton Junk, is the one in the picture sitting in the middle above the sign with times on it. Eventually, he began taking more scrap metal and building the other two robots: a bass player and drum player. While he’s working on
making the sounds more musical, his real interest is expanding the range of head and body expressions the robots can make while playing.

The “One Love” name is a reference to the Bob Marley sign. Kugler plans to keep building more band members using money he earns from tours and paid performances. He noted that the band disassembles quite easily and fits in a van.

Here’s a glimpse of one of their performances this weekend: